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The Ordinary Boys - Brassbound


Review: Jack Foley

I MUST confess from the outset that I haven't really been a massive fan of The Ordinary Boys and their latest single, the ska-heavy Boys Will Be Boys, did little to change my opinion.

Needless to say, their follow-up album to Over The Counter Culture is a similarly ska-heavy celebration, yet it does at least draw on a few more influences and is much better than I could initially have hoped for.

The Worthing-based foursome (three of whom are still in their teens) have actively sought to expand their sound, taking their hardcore punk roots and mixing it with their growing love for songwriters such as Elvis Costello and Stevie Wonder.

Hence, Brassbound contains elements of dub and reggae to break-up the ska and punk.

The result is a progression of sorts - still quintessentially The Ordinary Boys, courtesy of Sam Preston's distinct vocal style, but more adventurous and, well, more fun.

So does that make me a convert? Almost. The album contains more than its fair share of highlights.

From the Clash-inspired Life Will Be The Death of Me, which contains riffs straight out of the I Fought The Law songbook, to the Jackson Five-inspired groove of On An Island, there is much to suggest that The Ordinary Boys are maturing into a really strong band.

James Gregory's bassline still lies at the heart of most of the tracks, but William J Brown's guitars show greater scope and a little more restraint, and new drummer, Simon Goldring (who replaced Charles Stanley in January) adds a little more diversity to some of the rhythms.

Thanks To The Girl, a punk-rock crossover with a breezy 'I don't mind' chorus, is evidence of the sound of the band working well together and growing more ambitious.

It still contains the cheeky lyrical style that marked out their debut, but the music is far more layered and downright infectious.

Skull and Bones is another lively blend of bass and guitar, while Red Letter Day even begins with a string intro, before emerging as one of the album's most ambitious tracks - a slow-builder of genuine worth that hints at an even broader sound for the future.

Of course, there are moments when the album resorts to formula and feels like it's on auto-pilot.

Tracks such as Don't Live Too Fast and A Call To Arms sound like album fillers, and are fairly generic for this sort of punk sound.

There's even a cover version, of Locomotive's 1968 single, Rudi's In Love, which is fun but hardly a stretch for them.

But on the whole this is an accomplished return for The Ordinary Boys which is all the more impressive for arriving just 12 months after their debut album.

The boys are clearly having fun indulging their passions and expanding their influences, and fans will probably have the same.

Play The Ordinary Boys' game

Track listing:
1. Brassbound
2. Boys Will Be Boys
3. Life Will Be The Death Of Me
4. Thanks To The Girl
5. On An Island
6. One Step Forward
7. Skull And Bones
8. Don't Live Too Fast
9. Call To Arms
10. A Few Home Truths
11. Rudi's In Love
12. Red Letter Day

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